July 21, 2017


David Turnbull, david [at], 202-316-3499
Kelly Trout, kelly [at], 717-439-0346

FERC’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline Review Shrugs at Climate Disaster

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today released its Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 600-mile project driven by Dominion Energy and Duke Energy that would carry fracked gas from West Virginia through Virginia and North Carolina. In the review, FERC continues its systemic failure to seriously assess whether the pipeline is needed, while appearing to shrug off the damage it would inflict on people’s land, water, health, and the climate.

Meanwhile, the resistance to the pipeline continues growing across the region, as citizens mobilize this summer to urge state leaders in Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia to deny essential water permits for the project and stop it in its tracks.

Oil Change International Research Analyst Kelly Trout had the following response:

“With this sham review, FERC is teeing up Dominion and Duke to reap big profits on the backs of communities, their own customers, and the climate.

“FERC’s climate assessment is laughable. The agency grossly undercounts climate pollution by omitting fracking emissions, downplaying methane leakage, and wrongly assuming gas will replace coal when it increasingly displaces clean energy. It’s common sense that we can’t solve the climate crisis by digging a bigger hole of pollution. But that’s exactly what FERC is systematically helping the gas industry do.

“A proper analysis shows that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline could cause as much climate pollution per year as 20 coal-fired power plants. If FERC wasn’t in denial, it would find that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will fuel climate disaster while blocking the transition we urgently need to clean energy and efficiency solutions.

“Ultimately, FERC fails to provide any serious analysis as to whether a long-term need exists for this multi-billion-dollar pipeline, even as clean, cost-competitive alternatives are here today. That’s of little concern to Dominion and Duke, since they can pass the costs onto their captive utility customers and cash in on guaranteed profits. But it’s a scam for customers saddled with the bill, for landowners facing the seizure of their property, and for all of us facing the growing human and economic toll of climate change.

“FERC’s faulty analysis is no surprise, unfortunately. But the movement to stop dirty pipelines will keep growing because the safety of our families and our future depends on it. It’s time for FERC to wake up from its gas industry-induced trance, stop rubber-stamping massive pipelines, and start serving the public interest.”

In a recent study, Oil Change International found that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will cause 68 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution per year, which is the equivalent of 20 U.S. coal plants or over 14 million vehicles on the road. The study applied a gas pipeline climate methodology that adds up the lifecycle pollution of fracked gas from the Appalachian Basin.